Backup and Restore Set up File History in Windows 11


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File_History_banner.png

File History regularly backs up versions of your files in the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders and the OneDrive files available offline on your PC. Over time, you'll have a complete history of your files. If the originals are lost, damaged, or deleted, you can restore them. You can also browse and restore different versions of your files. For example, if you want to restore an older version of a file (even if it wasn't deleted or lost), you can browse through a timeline, select the version you want, and restore it.

File History only backs up copies of files that are in all folders and subfolders inside your account's C:\Users\<username> folder. If you have files or folders elsewhere that you want backed up, you can add them to one of these folders.

File History takes advantage of a feature built into the NTFS file system called the change journal to keep track of changes to files. Essentially, when any change is made to a file or folder on your hard disk, the change journal is updated with a description of the change and the name of the file or folder. So to determine which files need to be backed up, File History simply consults the NTFS change journal. Using the change journal is fast and efficient and won't use up a lot of system resources like running a conventional backup routine does.

Before you start using File History to back up your files, you need to first select where your backups are saved. You can select an externally connected drive, such as a USB drive, or you can save to a drive on a network. There are other choices, but these two provide the best options to help protect your files against a crash or other PC problems.

If the drive selected as the backup location becomes unavailable, such as when a USB cable is disconnected or the network goes down for maintenance, File History will continue to do its job by saving the copies to a cache on the local drive. Once the backup location becomes available again, the cached contents are transferred to that location and removed from the local drive.

This tutorial will show you how to set up and turn on File History to back up files for your account in Windows 10 and Windows 11.


File History requires the File History Service and Windows Search services to be enabled and running.

File History will also be available for previous versions of files.




Here's How:

1 Open the Control Panel (icons view), and click/tap on the File History icon.

2 Click/tap on Select drive in the left pane. (see screenshot below)

Set_up_File_History-1.png

3 Select a drive you want your File History saved to, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshots below)

If the selected drive was already used by File History, then you will also need to Select an existing backup to save to.

If a network drive you want isn’t in the list of available drives, click/tap on the Show all network locations link. If the network drive you want isn’t listed there either, then click/tap on the Add a network location link, and follow the instructions on the screen.


Set_up_File_History-2.png
Set_up_File_History-3.png
Set_up_File_History-4.png

4 If the selected drive was never used by File History and files backed up by File History were found on another drive, then click/tap on Yes or srepNo to move your existing files to the selected drive. (see screenshot below)

Set_up_File_History-5.png

5 If the selected drive was previously used by File History and doesn't have your most recent files backed up on it, click/tap on Yes or No to confirm to use this drive for File History. (see screenshot below)

If you click/tap on Yes, then a new backup of your files will be created on the selected drive.


Set_up_File_History-6.png

6 Click/tap on Exclude folders in the left pane. (see screenshot below)

Set_up_File_History-7.png

7 Select to Add or Remove folders you want to be excluded from File History, and click/tap on Save changes when finished. (see screenshots below)

File History only backs up copies of files that are in all folders and subfolders inside your account's C:\Users\<username> folder.


Set_up_File_History-8.png
Set_up_File_History-9.png

8 Click/tap on Advanced settings in the left pane. (see screenshot below)

Set_up_File_History-10.png

9 Perform the following steps to choose how often you want to save copies of your files, and how long to keep saved versions: (see screenshot below)
  1. Select how often to Save copies of files in the drop menu.
  2. Select how often to Keep saved versions in the drop menu.
  3. Click/tap on Save changes.
Set_up_File_History-11.png

10 Turn on File History. (see screenshot below)

Set_up_File_History-12.png

11 Click/tap on the Run now link to run File History to create copies (backup) of your files now. (see screenshot below)

Set_up_File_History-13.png

12 You can now close the Control Panel if you like.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

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RAMWolff

Member
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It seems that Windows built in tool isn't allowing me to choose the hard drive I want to back up incrementally. Just the C drive. So unless I'm not mistaken about this I don't think this is the tool for my needs.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    CyberPower PC
    CPU
    RYZEN 7 5700G 3.8GHz
    Motherboard
    GIGABYTE B550 UD AC
    Memory
    ADATA 8GB DDR4-3200 XPG Z1 4
    Graphics Card(s)
    GIGABYTE GEFORCE RTX 3060 GAMING OC 12GB GDDR6 REV 2.1
    Sound Card
    HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
    Monitor(s) Displays
    M1-Samsung Smart TV, M2- ViewSonic
    Screen Resolution
    M1-1920X1080 - M2-1920X1080
    Hard Drives
    1 Tb SSd (main Windows) 1 SSd external drives and two internal SATA HD's
    PSU
    APEVIA 800WATT GOLD 80 PLUS POWER SUPPLY
    Case
    In-Win G7 w/ USB 3.0, EZ Swap HDD Dock
    Cooling
    Liquid
    Keyboard
    Perixx PERIBOARD-331 Wired Backlit USB Keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Ergo Wireless Trackball Mouse
    Internet Speed
    WAVE, highest tier so FAST enough
    Browser
    Opera
    Antivirus
    MS

Brink

Administrator
Staff member
MVP
Thread Starter
Local time
1:44 PM
Posts
3,791
OS
Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
It seems that Windows built in tool isn't allowing me to choose the hard drive I want to back up incrementally. Just the C drive. So unless I'm not mistaken about this I don't think this is the tool for my needs.
Hello, :)

What type of drive is it? Is it formatted with NTFS?

 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 980 PRO M.2,
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Motorola MB8611 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1
    CPU
    i7-1065G7 3.9 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR4-3200
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
    Sound Card
    Intel SST
    Monitor(s) Displays
    13.3" 4K UWVA AMOLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium

RAMWolff

Member
VIP
Local time
11:44 AM
Posts
53
Location
RWC, CA USA
OS
Windows 11
Yes, it's an internal formatted drive. But it's not a C drive, it's a D drive. I've actually found my way doing a little research on line so for now I'm OK.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    CyberPower PC
    CPU
    RYZEN 7 5700G 3.8GHz
    Motherboard
    GIGABYTE B550 UD AC
    Memory
    ADATA 8GB DDR4-3200 XPG Z1 4
    Graphics Card(s)
    GIGABYTE GEFORCE RTX 3060 GAMING OC 12GB GDDR6 REV 2.1
    Sound Card
    HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
    Monitor(s) Displays
    M1-Samsung Smart TV, M2- ViewSonic
    Screen Resolution
    M1-1920X1080 - M2-1920X1080
    Hard Drives
    1 Tb SSd (main Windows) 1 SSd external drives and two internal SATA HD's
    PSU
    APEVIA 800WATT GOLD 80 PLUS POWER SUPPLY
    Case
    In-Win G7 w/ USB 3.0, EZ Swap HDD Dock
    Cooling
    Liquid
    Keyboard
    Perixx PERIBOARD-331 Wired Backlit USB Keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Ergo Wireless Trackball Mouse
    Internet Speed
    WAVE, highest tier so FAST enough
    Browser
    Opera
    Antivirus
    MS

Brink

Administrator
Staff member
MVP
Thread Starter
Local time
1:44 PM
Posts
3,791
OS
Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
Yes, it's an internal formatted drive. But it's not a C drive, it's a D drive. I've actually found my way doing a little research on line so for now I'm OK.
Great news. What was the cause?
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 980 PRO M.2,
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Motorola MB8611 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1
    CPU
    i7-1065G7 3.9 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR4-3200
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
    Sound Card
    Intel SST
    Monitor(s) Displays
    13.3" 4K UWVA AMOLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium

RAMWolff

Member
VIP
Local time
11:44 AM
Posts
53
Location
RWC, CA USA
OS
Windows 11
Still not sure about that. It's a mess. I actually posted a cry for help in understanding this mess on MS's own community forums. I really hope that someone comes along and has some info for me. I've given up trying to recover the files that went POOF but I want to understand WHY they went poof. Like perhaps bad sectors on the drive or what ever!
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    CyberPower PC
    CPU
    RYZEN 7 5700G 3.8GHz
    Motherboard
    GIGABYTE B550 UD AC
    Memory
    ADATA 8GB DDR4-3200 XPG Z1 4
    Graphics Card(s)
    GIGABYTE GEFORCE RTX 3060 GAMING OC 12GB GDDR6 REV 2.1
    Sound Card
    HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
    Monitor(s) Displays
    M1-Samsung Smart TV, M2- ViewSonic
    Screen Resolution
    M1-1920X1080 - M2-1920X1080
    Hard Drives
    1 Tb SSd (main Windows) 1 SSd external drives and two internal SATA HD's
    PSU
    APEVIA 800WATT GOLD 80 PLUS POWER SUPPLY
    Case
    In-Win G7 w/ USB 3.0, EZ Swap HDD Dock
    Cooling
    Liquid
    Keyboard
    Perixx PERIBOARD-331 Wired Backlit USB Keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Ergo Wireless Trackball Mouse
    Internet Speed
    WAVE, highest tier so FAST enough
    Browser
    Opera
    Antivirus
    MS
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